The Body and Full Of Hell are no strangers to collaborations or to each other, as both acts have teamed up in the past together and individually with some of the undergrounds best bands (Thou, Code Orange, Krieg etc). One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache (Neurot) was an assault on the senses, and you’d expect nothing less from both bands, but with Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light (Thrill Seeker) they look to push the boundaries of what qualifies as music even further.
The last collaboration between the two noise-peddlers was an interesting but harrowing project, no doubt. However, it weighed a bit too heavily on The Body side of things and, as a result, lacked the necessary white-hot fury to feel like a genuine collaboration with Full Of Hell. As we come to this new record, the lumbering, creeping opener ‘Light Penetrates’ lulls you into thinking we may be about to experience more of the same, but then we’re given a wake-up call. The ear-splitting attack of lead single ‘Earth Is A Cage’ is a perfect example of the kind of synergy both acts are capable of, with the heavy bass and throb of The Body and the sharp, seething barks coming from Dylan Walker (Full Of Hell). It’s as furious as it is unsettling and exactly the kind of soundtrack one might encounter in a nightmare.
This distressing atmosphere is only helped by the heavily electronic ‘The King Laid Bare’, dissonant beats and the shrieks of The Body calling out to you underneath it all. The harrowing soundscapes that follow in tracks like ‘Didn’t The Night End’ and ‘Our Love Conducted With Shields Aloft’ are only accentuated when the blistering blast beats that open ‘Farewell, Man’ tear through you. However, before you have time to properly absorb this attack on the senses, they give way to another sludgy, cavernous passage. While it’s not unwelcome, it slightly undermines the few genuinely heart-racing moments that add some much needed fire to this partnership.
Overall, it does feel like a more cohesive record than the act’s previous collaborative output, as the stark switches in pace and atmosphere really highlight the positives each band has when it comes to creating truly distressing music; namely dramatic, haunting ambiance and harsh, jarring assaults of noise. Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light is certainly a step in the right direction, but it feels more like a 70/30 split rather than 50/50. However, a step in the right direction is still progress, and if it means that there is the possibility of more collaborations between The Body and Full of Hell, that can only be a good thing. We should brace ourselves for what’s to come because, undoubtedly, it’s going to hurt.